Do you know how many times I’ve watched the film The Hustler with Paul Newman and still not understood why some people choose to loose?
Never seen “The Hustler?” Never mind. My film fanatics will get it.
But I wanna bring the rest of you in.
Let’s try this:
Beloved are you more committed to your anger than you are to your dreams and pleasure? Observe what happens when you in all your receptivity call upon the passions never expressed. Ignite the bouquet of flowers along your spine. Don’t judge anything. Just observe.
-From “You Look Like Something Blooming”
By India Ame’ye
I was heading downtown to Brooklyn for an orientation last Saturday morning and unless I truly don’t give a fuck, (and sometimes even then, to be honest) I pride myself on getting to events and meetings on time if I have anything to do with it. But like most people who commute via mass transit in New York, I often have nothing to do with it. Especially every weekend when the MTA decides to put you through train travel hell.
All that to say, I had transferred to the third downtown train and was pacing in a virtually empty car which crawled along at a snails pace like it had no where to be when I realized I was not going to be on time. In fact I was going to be late. I’ve been is this situation enough times already and it’s always hard for me to avoid getting upset.
I was pissed. I was infuriated. I had to squeeze the hell out of my cellphone just to displace my violent energy into something I couldn’t hurt or destroy. Then I decided to just sit and read this book. Whatever was going to happen would happen. I couldn’t control it. I had done all I could.
All this over being late. I have problems…
And that’s when I read the passage from India Ame’ye. And this is a teeny tiny footnote at the end of page 170.
It occurred to me that YES, I have been more committed to my anger than my hopes and pleasures! And for a looong time! But hearing it, reading it out loud and outside of my own head for the first time just made me think, made me realize how fucking wrong that is. When did that happen? Who would do that?
But there it is. Over identification and investment in anger which is closely connected to fear of failure breeds a kind of lifestyle that always ensures failure. Because no matter what good you have in your life, no matter how talented, how capable, how unique, how worthy you are, if you don’t actually believe in it, you’re not really living, You’re busy avoiding imaginary pitfalls that haven’t happened yet. And even when they do, the idea should never be to hang out in the pitfalls but to learn from them and transcend them. You’re not supposed to remain perpetually at the starting line watching others race and think you’ve figured out how to never be disappointed by never daring to try.
That sounds extreme. But I think most of us are conditioned to do this in one way or another. We think someone else will do what we need to do and do it better, or that we weren’t meant to do it anyway so why bother?
Where does that kind of thinking originate?
Some of us are conditioned to treat the world as if it could never have existed without us.
I’m not going to give you my specific theories as yet but I will say that a large percentage of it is intentional and systemic.
And I really want to move away from it.
There are many of us who subconsciously dedicate so much time and energy into our own failure through self sabotage. I’m there quite often myself. But as we become more conscious we have to demonstrate an understanding that the terms which we have been conditioned to accept are deeply dysfunctional, unhealthy and totally inauthentic to who we really are. And then go discover who we are by being who we are, in effect, we have to create ourselves again…
For the first time.
So I was late but I wasn’t turned away as a I feared I would be. And I got exactly what I needed, plus a little bit more which I will happily share in my next entry.